A big thank you to everyone who attended the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards presented by IBM in New York City on March 28! More than 1,500 people attended the event presented by Prudential, which honored outstanding representations of LGBT people in media. GLAAD's silent and live auctions raised an estimated $110,000 for GLAAD's culture changing and media advocacy work. The evening began with a reception at the Marriott Marquis where guests perused silent and live auction items. Meanwhile, the red carpet welcomed over 120 media outlets to photograph and interview special guests and honorees. Media outlets including Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight and Reuters were on hand to raise visibility for support for the LGBT community from A-list celebrities in attendance. LGBT media outlets including The Advocate, AfterElton.com, Queerty.com and OUTTAKE also took the opportunity interview special guests about their views on marriage equality. The red carpet was turned white - where staff, guests and celebrities including Clay Aiken, Phil Donahue, S. Epatha Merkerson, T.R. Knight and Jane Velez- Mitchell wore white knots in support of marriage equality (http://www.whiteknot.org/). The 20th Annual Media Awards kicked off with a hysterical monologue from comedian Kate Clinton who poked fun at Pastor Rick Warren and continued with an opening montage of media images from 2008 that had the crowd laughing with clips from television and film and moved many tears with its incorporation of media coverage of Proposition 8.
Judith Light and LGBT advocate David Mixner provided a moving look back at the last 20 years of media images, moving us from coverage of HIV/AIDS to some of the groundbreaking television moments to coverage of marriage equality this past year. Keith Olbermann received a standing ovation from the crowd when accepting the award for Outstanding TV Journalism Segment for "Special Comment: Gay Marriage is a Question of Love" which aired on Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. Olbermann cited that his presence in the media had an advisor of John McCain change his stance on marriage equality. "One down," Olbermann said- eliciting laughs and applause from the crowd. Twenty-year old Donald Smith began a tribute to GLAAD President Neil Giuliano. Smith was a teenager during Giuliano's tenure as President of Tempe, Arizona and remarked that Giuliano's visibility had been an inspiration in Smith's coming out. Openly gay actor T.R. Knight presented the Vito Russo Award to Suze Orman, personal finance expert and host of CNBC's The Suze Orman Show. The Vito Russo Award is presented to an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for the LGBT community. "I want every single one of you in this room to take note of what corporations put their time and money behind gays, behind lesbians - behind you," Orman said accepting her award. "Do you want to continue to give your money to people in corporations that oppress us, that keep us down? Or do you want to give your money to the corporations who can help us rise and change what needs to be changed in the United States of America today." Orman continued, "I ask you to honor those corporations not only with your support but with your money as well. We can do this - and here's how you're going to do it. You are going to think about every single penny you spend from this day forward. And the only think I ask of you is to spend it and invest it in those companies that invest in you." Los Angeles on April 18 where we are honoring Kathy Griffin, Bishop Gene Robinson and The L Word. Additional talent: Jessica Alba, Dustin Lance Black; Balthazar Getty; Megan Mullally; Alan Cumming; Gus Van Sant; George Takei; Bruno Tonioli; Robert Gant, Peter Paige, Thea Gill, Michelle Clunie; Wilson Cruz; and Chad Allen. A third ceremony takes place in San Francisco on May 9 honoring Chad Allen with Special Guests Wilson Cruz, Robert Gant, Jason Lewis and Suze Orman.
The new GLAAD Media Awards Statuette which was unveiled at the New York event, designed by Society Awards